By Gretchen Schmiege
A time-lapse video of skyscrapers stacking higher and higher like steel Legos. Rushing crowds of black hair and beeping cell phones. Tea shops and fans. A red flag with five golden stars. One foot edging tentatively forward and one foot facing directly backward. THis Asian country is a place of wild contradictions, a place of opportunity for some and a dizzying maze for others. It is a proud nation; people there speak about having one heart. Presently that heart is open. Alongside Buddhism, atheism, materialism, humanism, or any combination of those, the Gospel is here. It’s in packed state-run churches, in small house-church gatherings, on a necklace, within families who have protected it like a treasure. This generation is searching for peace in a very literal sense. What better peace than the overwhelming love of a Father and the certainty of heaven through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection? The professionals, the curious, the workers, and the students are being led to that peace and are leading their friends, associates, and children to it.
I met a young graduate student, a philosophical expert and lifelong Christian. His vocabulary was astounding, yet he spoke slowly, haltingly, to make sure he was expressing himself as accurately as possible. He put it this way: “To be honest, I am… (long pause)…grabbed by the Bible.” Which is exactly what God does – grabs us out of our abhorrent human condition and through his Holy Word and Holy Spirit puts faith where we can only put futile human thinking.
No one knows what will happen in this country’s future. No one, that is, except the Director of human history. While we blundering humans look through the open door with bright eyes and cautiously glance over our shoulder, the Director holds that door open, for now. This Asian country is a door.